We played it pretty safe on this trip, visiting some of our old favorites, but we did try 2 new places during the week. These are in order of when we visited.
Amuse Bistro (in front of the Playa Linda)
This has become our traditional 1st night dinner as it is convenient to the Surf Club and has delicious food. Patrick, formerly the chef at Flying Fishbone and his wife Ivette are wonderful hosts and the staff is extremely service oriented and friendly. The food is offered in small plates or full size portions-we chose small pplates so that the four of us could share and sample as many of the entrees as possible. The food was definitely very good and worth the price.
Linda's Pancakes (breakfast)
Another tradition is to wake up early our first morning, have breakfast at Linda's, fill up the pantry at Ling's and hit the beach. Not much more to say than fantastic apple and bacon pancake to begin my Aruba carbo load.
I still think they have they best fresh fish on the island. They don't want to be fancy, just good. I had a great blackened wahoo and my wife had the special, which consisted of red snapper and a lobster tail. We both loved our choices.
A few observations here...
1-WW did not seem as crowded as in the past. We had reservations, but there was at least an empty table or two during our entire dinner. In the past people were waiting outside for tables
2-It seemed to be cooler in here than in the past. I know people have commented that it is usually warm and somewhat stuffy in here but maybe they have improved their AC.
This was our first visit to the new location at the Seaport. We always loved going to their old location in the small cunucu in town, and they have done a nice job keeping the old Havana feeling and artwork in this fresh new setting with indoor and outdoor seating. The mojitos are still the best-get them with Cuban rum and the food is still very good, although the prices seem to have increased, maybe to pay the higher rent. The still have live Cuban music and the waitresses still dance with you. All in all, a fun night.
Not much more to say about MJ's than everyone else's reviews. The food is great, our service was exceptional (we had Susan who has been there for years), the portions are ridiculously big, and martinis are great. I had Crab Cakes to start followed by the incredible Almond Grouper (of course). There were 6 of us this night and everyone loved their food ranging from snapper to steak to grouper. I think MJ's will always be on our list, no matter how many new restaurants open on the island.
This was our one sunset dinner on the beach and we picked the right night for it. I think there were only 2 really nice sunsets during the week and this one was spectacular- see thumbnail below and my new avatar. We had a table in the sand and really enjoyed ourselves. Luc is a wonderful host and took pictures of the 4 of us at sunset. The food is solidly good here, bordering on great, but still can be a bit inconsistent. I had the Vanilla Scallops to start and the "Romance of the Sea" (grouper, Mahi Mahi, and Red Snapper). The rest of the group ranged from Grouper Italiano to Beef Stew and all enjoyed.
2 Fools & A Bull
Amazing, Amazing Amazing dining experience. This is definitely an adult dining experience and thanks to Amy for recommending. Paul (the host, waiter, emcee, etc) and Fred (the chef) have a unique dining experience for you if you like to be exposed to truly gourmet food. The menu is a 5 course dinner and is selected for you based upon availability of ingredient's and Fred's whims. The only exception to the menu is if you have a food allergy-the night we went, someone had a fish allergy and they substituted for that diner. 2 Fools is located just past Wacky Wahoo in an old cunucu that they have redone. When you arrive, Paul greets you with a champagne cocktail and brings you to the patio to meet the other guests. The max is 17 people and there were 14 the night we went. After about 20 minutes, everyone heads inside for the wonderful dinner. Our dinner consisted of a veal amuse bouche followed by a crab appetizer, a petite dover sole, and then beef tenderloin in a phenomenal wine sauce as the main course. Wine pairings are available with each course (for an additional cost) and they were great. There was no pressure to order wine or any drinks and our friend who doesn't drink enjoyed her glass of Coke. Everyone then got 3 desserts- a chocolate mouse, a chocolate cake, and creme brulee.
This is a relatively new restaurant and bar that is located next to Sole Mare, just beyond Wacky Wahoo. After the ridiculous amount of food we had the night before at 2 Fools, we decide to low key it on our last night. Barney's was recommended by a number of people on this BB as well as people we met during the week so we thought we would try it. The name comes from the Flinstone's, which for some reason the owners Eilyn and Rone decided would be their theme. Eilyn worked at MJ's for 8 or so years and actually has Almond Grouper on the menu. We thought the food was good here and the prices were very reasonable with large portions. The people are super friendly and the Dutch waitresses all wear orange Betty (Rubble) tshirts. Although this is not a gourmet meal, it is still a very comfortable and enjoyable dining experience.
I can't remember which day we wandered over to Scott's for lunch, but it is a good alternative to the beach lunch scene. We didn't get there for breakfast, but I hear his breakfast burritos are really good. I had the Brat and a Beer combo for $8 while my BW had a veggie wrap (talk about food extremes). Leslie and Scott are really nice people and it's good to see them having success. They are located on the beach at the Playa Linda-right next to the Dunkin Donuts and this was well worth the walk from the Surf Club.
I hope I haven't bored you to tears with this long review, but I wish I was at any one of these places for dinner tonight instead of home in NJ.